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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  May 30, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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that's it for us, thank for watching 360. "cnn tonight" starts now. this is "cnn tonight," i'm don le felony. we have breaking new lgs on the russian investigation. former fbi official, andrew mccabe feared that rod rosenstein helped provide president trump with a cover story for the fires of james comey. he wrote a memo about it last spring that's now in the hands of robert mueller. more on what that secret memo said in just a moment. it comes on a day where the president finally weighed in on the controversy over roseanne barr's tweet. and couldn't resist making it all about donald trump. president trump say that undeniably racist tweet comparing jared to an ape and
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insisted he needed an apology. gee, he never called president dronld j. trump to apologize for the horrible statements made and said about me on abc. maybe i just didn't get the call. there does seem to be something he didn't get. the president seems to think he's the victim here. he thinks he's deserves an apology, even though he's never apologized for one word of this. >> they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapist. donald j. trump calling for a total and complete shut down of muslims entering the united states. you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides. you had people in that group -- excuse me, excuse me, i saw the same pictures as you did. wouldn't you love to see one of
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these nfl owners, when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a [ bleep ] off the field right now. out. he's fired. he's fired. >> that is pure racism. the president is using that racism to appeal to his base. we're learning tonight that in a phone call last fall with dallas cowboys' owner, jerry jones, the president said, quote, this is a very winning strong issue for me. that is according to the wall street journal. another example of this president framing everything in terms of whether or not it is a win for him. but this is not a game. don't forget donald trump's entire political career was founded on the racist birther lie that barack obama was not born in this country. a lie that he reportedly still
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believes. all that probably explains why the president has failed to condemn the blatant racism of roseanne's tweet. >> the president simply calling out the media bias. no one's defending what she said. the president is the president of all more than and he's focused on doing what is best for our country. >> what is best for our country would actually be condemning racism in all forms. not what aboutism, not, i'm the victim. roseanne appears to be having trouble understanding that too. tweeting today, quote, i'm not a racist, i never was and never will be. one stupid joke in a lifetime for fighting for civil rights in all minorities at studios at -- will never be taken from me. well, you can't wash away a racist attack by calling it a stupid joke, there's nothing
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funny about it. and roseanne is not a victim. she is paying the price for what she did. and in that, she's got something in common with another '9 os superstar. one whose legacy is tarnished as well. how the mighty have fallen. much more on that in a little bit in the show. i want to get to some significant breaking news. this is on the russian investigation. i want to bring in dana bash, jack questioniinn and ryan. dana you first, the former fbi direct andrew mccabe, in a secret memo he felt that attorn -- here's the kicker, mueller has the memo. that's big. >> it is potentially big, don. there's no question. a couple things though to unpack
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here. first of all, we knew, because it was in public, at least the initial reason for firing james comey came from a memo prepared by rod rosenstein. remember back then, that it was actually taken from kind of an internal memo, an internal report on james comey's actions as fbi director, a critique. and realtime, we reported that that was kind of the -- the ultimate explanations that they used after an initial memo written with the president and stephen miller that was a lot more explicit saying we're firing james comey because of several things, including russia. we juunderstood this was part o the explanations because it was in public. what andrew mccabe has done in these memos was talk about the
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fact that it wasn't just about the conflict that jaime comey had and overseeing the hillary clinton e fail investigation but he officially talked about russia as well. we'll see how sort of inflaming those and how bad those are for the president ultimately when we see what robert mueller has. i think in the short-term, we also have to remember that andrew mccabe is somebody who had a conflict with rod rosenstein, who didn't always see eye to eye with a lot of people inside the fbi, and obviously we also know that he is the subject of his own inspector general report that didn't do so well. so, there are a lot of conflicting characters and story lines that robert mueller understands he has to sift through. >> talk about -- let's unpack this more, jack. andrew mccabe recounts a conversation. here's what he told "new york
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times." they said, but in the meeting at the justice department mr. rosenstein added a new detail. he said the president had originally asked him to reference russia in his memo, the people familiar with the conversation said. so, jack, the rosenstein memo about what's comb my's handling of the situation, but the president wanted him to mention russia. does it -- >> i think it bolsters the reasons that are out there and that have manifest. i don't know who, you know, in this country thinks the firing of james comey did not have to do a great deal with the issue of the russian investigation. the president has acknowledged that to lester hot. he has acknowledged that in any number of situations. rudy giuliani has acknowledged it. it's inelse escape bl the run
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investigation was pair mount on his mind when he chose to fire james comey. he told the officials in hi office that's why he fired him, the pressure was relieved by his so doing. i think -- you didn't ask me this, but i think andrew mccabe's fingerprint is all over the "new york times" story. i think this story is something that a shot across rod rosenstein's bow. >> exactly. >> and, you know, i think in addition this --do you know -- was calculated to enhance bob mueller's role. i don't know who -- for one thing, i sure hope rod rosenstein isn't conflicted out of this investigation. not because, you know, i have any fondness for him, i think it would be a nightmare if the deputy attorney general had to be replaced in the middle of this. >> okay.
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i want to bring ryan in. ryan, jack mentioned what the president said to lester hot. let's bring that back, play that and then we'll discuss. here it is. >> regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey, knowing there was a real good time to do it. in fact, when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, i said, you know, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story, it's an excuse by the democrats having lost an election that they should have won. >> ike, ryan, your turn. russia, this is another example of him saying, russia was on my mind here. >> yeah, jack laid it out. this report by the new york time gives one more data point where trump told someone he was taking this action because of russia. we don't know a lot more of russia, the "times" report
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doesn't spell out, it doesn't go further than that. we had giuliani recently saying it was about russia. we have trump telling hot it was about russia. we have trump telling the officials in the roe value office that it was about russia. >> but it wasn't about russia. requests and still the official reason was that that comey was too fine to hillary clinton in a 2016 election. it's laughable whether you say it like that but that was what the rosenstein memo was. he said comey abused his office by being mean to hillary clinton. and so, it was laughable at the time, nobody believe that. the question is, does this all add up to obstruction of justice and, you know, that's the legal we're going to be having going forward. >> can you hold that on the other side, i need to get to the
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brach. jack, thank you very much. dana and ryan stick around. president trump has a long list of grievances against abc. a really long list but should the president really be expecting any apologies when he never seems to apologize for anything that he has said?
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. so, president trump could have condemned roseanne barr's racist tweet but he did not. instead, he made the whole thing about himself. back with me now, dana bash and ryan lizzer, joining our zugs is david. let's start with you then, president trump didn't denounce roseanne's racist tweets. he wen after abc about him. me me me me me? >> yeah, he made it about himself but also he missed an opportunity to change the tonight that's been the tune for whole time he's been president and when he was running for president, that he did not have a true regard for trying to be the leader of all americans. he's missed so many of these opportunities. we're at the point now where if
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you can't take a clearly racist tweet by roseanne barr, and simply say as president, look, either not say anything at all or condemn it in the strongest terms, the message you're sending to people is either, a, i think there's some merit of this kind of tone, or you're at least saying, i don't care enough about the feelings of the people offended by this tweet and frankly all americans should be offended by this tweet to take a stand as the head of state, as the leader of the free world, as the president of the neigh, to make a statement about it. you're leaving people with the opportunity to then say, well, the president clearly doesn't care about this, doesn't have the right view on this for the leader of the kind of society that americans believer they should have. >> dana, that's a good point. it's so simple, the roseanne barr show spoke to salespeople
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people who don't normally have a voice, her tweet don't speak for majority of americans and we should condemn it, get this out of the the way. >> done. >> why make it all about him? >> it would have been happened under any other circumstance. as i was listening to david talk, i was thinking about the definition of insanity. it's to do thing over and over and expect a different result. in this case, to watch something over and over again and expect a different result. i think in that way we're kind of all feeling that, are we insane to expect this different result? we shouldn't be, we should expect a president, any president of any party, any lead leader of this country say, we can condemn the smallest of terms anything that smacks racism, but he doesn't do it. he just don't do it.
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i will expect, and i think all of us will expect that our leader will do that. and hope that it changes, but, i don't really put a lot of stock in that potentially happening. >> and yet, sarah sanders echoed the president today and offered a li ist of grievances the president has against abc. ryan, watch this. >> where was bob iger's apologize for the white house staff for jamall hill and calling the president and anyone associated to him a white supremacist. where was the apologize for kra think griffin going on a profane rant on "the view" when a picture showing her holding a decab tated head. where was the apologize for attacking the president as ana zee and expending a role after
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the attack of the president's family. this is the double standard that the president is speaking about. no one's defender our comments, they're inappropriate but that's the point they were making. >> i'm not sure ryan to defend abc, some of the thing she was saying was a matter of context. these are the tones that the president has taken to, taken the occasion about others, they're needs, losses, sacrifices and making them about donald trump's own greerchs or accomplishments, right? >> yeah, putting aside some of the stuff she saidi was factualy correct, it's comparing apples and oranges, i think you can have a real problem with the gravity of what she's talking about versus what roseanne barr says. putting that aside, this is what we're talking about when we say
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what aboutism. right? the issue at hand is -- he's had a friendly relationship with, said something that was ooffensive and racist that she lost one of the highest rated shows in america. and, the presidentdown ha don'to weigh in on that, right, the white house doesn't have to weigh in on that, they might think it's not important. but to make a decision to weigh in on it, and then the lead, your top line statement is not just at the beginning a condemn neigh, that is both incompletely predictable. and still sort of shocking. we are used to presidents treating racism a certain way. and to dana's point a second ago, as soon as roseanne tweeted that, i think all of us could have written the script for the
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last 24 hours wet getting most of these details wrong. you could have -- you knew she was foing to get fired, you knew the outrage that was going to ensue, you knew trump was going to handle it in some horrible way that was different than a normal president. >> yeah. >> it's sad that it's that predictable because we knew this was going to happen and getting used to this. >> david, two thing. you can't say -- well maybe she didn't have to respond to it, but he did sort of, you know, elevate, if you will, roseanne by saying, oh, well the show speaks -- she gets us, look at her ratings. and then there's the other issue, he has a track record of inreport and disrespectful statements. watch this. >> some of the media's terrific, but most of it, 70%, 75% is absolute dishonest, absolute scum. remember that. wouldn't you love to see one of
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these nfl owners, when somebody disrespect our flag, to say get that son of a [ bleep ] off the field right now. out, he's fired. the poor guy, you got to see this guy, oh, i don't know what i said, i don't remember. he's going i don't remember, maybe that's what i said. he's a war hero that was captured. when mexico sends its people they're not sending their best. they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapist and some i assume are good people. >> the media's saying mean thing about -- but did you hear what he said. where are the apologies for any of those comments, david? >> and we won't get one. the list is too long to name. the president never acknowledges those, he mischaracter rises some of those other people that sarah sanders were attacking,
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they didn't say things on the level roseanne barr tweeted. you're the president of the unite, if you didn't want to bring peopling to in these moments you shouldn't have run for job, that is part of the job. >> the president says he's the least racist person you'll ever meet. i think, don that that may not be the day. >> oh, you don't say. when we come back, president trump says he had a great meeting at the white house today with kim kardashian. we'll tell you what they talked about.
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president trump wasn't the only reality t.v. star in the white house today, kim k. made her way to the oval office. i'm talking about kim kardashian there she is standing next to the president. she tweeted i would like to thank president trump this afternoon, it is our hope that the president will grant chen clemency to miss alice marie johnson whose serving a lifetime
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offense for a nonviolent drug related crime. april, what do you know about this meeting with the president and kim kardashian on prison reform? we know this is a key issue for jared kushner. >> well, what i do know, you know, the white house didn't want to leak out any information. as you just said it yourself, she has an issue or a person that she want pardoned. here's the issue, this is a hard issue for jared kushner. because his father was in prison, but at the same time this is part of the urban agenda that we've talked about that this president wants to roll out. he is bringing in people from everywhere to include people like mark leal, the head of the -- there are area that is we can find common ground on. mark and the national you shaurd
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work on job training and thing of that nature. then i have every-fridays of new york who is working with administration on possibly helping to get something to move forward. the devil is in the details. it's about, for this white house, it is about prison reform, it is not about sentencing reform. sentencing reform and prison reform again are like fraternal twins. you have to be sentenced going to prison. a lot of people talk to prison being a privatization making money, profitability on it. the issue of sentencing the white house is saying jeff sessions didn't want anything to do with it. you have congressional black caucus members are saying all the white house has to do is listen to republican senator brasly as it relates to the reduction in sentencing and go with that, they don't want to do it. >> this is something that van jones has knowledge about. you support a prison reform bill, that recently passed the house.
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do they recognize a tremendous racial disparities no only in this but the sentencing too? >> a couple thing, can we just say hats off to kim kardashian for going to the white house and trying to get something done. miss alice has been in prison since 1996 for a first-time drug offense and can never get parole. the idea that kim kardashian, people have always underestimated her. she's not a house hole name because he's a dummy. she's using her marketing to try to -- >> van van van she's a household name for something else. >> i think it's a good thing if she does it, i saw the cover of the new york post and i thought it was appalling. could we put it up. joan, i don't know if you --
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>> i saw it. >> she's using her platform for good, for them to put a kim thong un it's sogis disgusting, you take stormy daniels seriously but not kim kardashian whose trying to do something good? >> i'm glad she's trying to do something good. i would say trump has said worth things about her in the past. she's there trying to do something good. april make it is point they are detach this is from sentencing reform and we knee sentencing reform. van, i've known van since he was working on these issues in san francisco. >> 20, 30 years ago. >> maybe not 30. >> 25. >> 25. so it would be important -- the conditions in prison are impauling the fact people can't get out, there's no rehabilitation. if we can find common ground on one issue i'd be happy with that. >> i want to play something i
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heard from president trump in nashville. watch this. >> when when i make a speech and i talk about african-american and i'd say, highest crime rate, bad education, i'd go ten points and they always voting, african-american votes for democrats for the most part. vast majority, that i have been doing it for over 100 years. >> since 1960s, 50 years. >> also can we say -- over 50 years. african-american were traditionally republican because they were the part of lincoln. dr. king, daddy king was a republican. he get the facts wrong, many black people couldn't vote until 1960. and he get the fact wrong again, there used to be a --
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>> that is important van, that's important for people to know. there are probably people here in this country and supporters who think african-americans have been voting for 100 years. they should know, no, it had been about 50 years, and even then, you had to count the number of jelly baens in a jar. all kinds of -->> a >> all kinds of barriers to voting. i think what trump is trying to do though, something he should take seriously. there is a push for trump to try to split off some number of african-americans. the prison reform effort may be a part of that. also, you have, i think coming up very soon a big you reach to african-american business owners. you're going to see these out reaches and t going to be up to african-americans to determine -- we might agree on policy things but politically can we support administration
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that on the one hand might. [ gunfire ] you a appe give you a policy but then dehuman you. >> when he's a nationalist doesn't seem like he can get beyond campaign mode. and if he could get down to real issues and also learn the history of african-americans voting in this country. it could make a difference. i don't know if it's too farfetched. what do you think? >> history's important. this president traveled to the african-american history museum on culture. he had an abbreviated tour. he needs to have someone in his camp to understand the knnuance of the black community. t not cut and try, i see it and that's it. it's hundreds of times when blacks were brought in the bellies of ships making the middle package to this country. last night nationalist, the president was talking about blacks and voting, that is a
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subject that many of the members of congressional can you discuct about, in particular jeff sessions not sensitive to the voting rights of black people. there is a big issue when it comes to access to capital in the black community. and minorities, thing of that nature, infrastructure for schools. there's so many issues that are on the table. the question is, how will this administration listen? will they really have the ear and heart to listen. it's not just about legislation and policy, it's about heart too. >> i did want to say on this justice reform there's a good thing that there's at least one issue. i got 99 conflicts with the administration but prison aren't one. there's one issue that might advance the cause of poor, african-americans, latinos and others. the dismissal of kim kardashian
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based on the mistake she made when she was a young woman. i'm tired of that. many people have made that mistake with the secting but they have gone on to build multibillion dollars businesses. if we believe in redemption, second chances, for 200,000 prisoners -- care >> for everybody. >> let's do it for everybody. let's applaud people when they do the right thing. >> you stole my ending. like it or not, she does have black kids. >> yeah. >> in some ways she's looking -- >> listen, applaud the trump administration for dealing with this. i applaud kim kardashian. on prison let's get something done. >> the devil's in the details. don't mis-van jones show saturday night here on cnn. his guest this week, actor jim parsons and candice owens. is america more divided under
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president trump than it has been for 150 years? are we now until the middle of a solved civil war? that next. the digital divide is splitting this country. we have parents who are trying to get their kids off of too much social media and computers, and then we have parents who would only hope their children have access. middle school is a really key transition point, right. the stakes start changing. students begin to really start thinking about their futures. what i like about verizon's approach is that it's not limited to just giving kids new tools, it's really about empowering educators to teach in different ways, and exposing kids to more active forms of learning. giving technology is not a total solution. teaching technology, now that is.
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tonight president trump weighs in on roseanne barr's racist tweet without mentioning her tweet, instead making the whole thing opinion him and his grievances. subpoena he using racism to divide america? let's discuss. good evening to our panelist. fascinating what you're saying and what you wrote today, carl i'm going to start with you. the president tweeted six weeks ago, perhaps barack obama's biggest failure is he decided to unite the country. why do you think this country is divided under trump? >> well first of all, trump has not started the cold civil war that we're in but brought it to
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ignition. where people on both sides of this cold civil war are dug in and as max has pointed out, disproportionately on the president's side as they're dug in. what unites all the news we're hearing and that you're talking about, is really this president is the president of his base, he's not the president of all the people of the united states. he does not aspire to appeal to the people of the united states as a whole. he intends to governor for the cult and the base that are his most a video followers. that's something unique in our history. max has a chair that he holds named after gene kirk pat ric, ronald reagan's u.n. ambassador. ronald reagan could not act like this. this is a in our history, where we have a president of the united states who does not aspire to the
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leadership of the people of thiscthis country. >> i think that's right. what makes him so toxic he not only agrees with the opposing party he -- their motivates. la in the last few days he's been saying, nancesy pelosi loathes u.s. 13. that's offensive to suggest that the majority leader of house loathes a gang. you shall not be suggesting she is rooting for criminals. that is something that donald trump does routinely. >> why does he -- before i get to your column. this is what gets me, he says the nastiest things about people, group of people, but in turn expects people to report on him glowingly and have positive comments about him. and the people who support him
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expects the same thing. that makes no sense. what's happening here? >> i think you put your finger on this very interesting pare docs, on the one hand they throw personal insults and accuse the other side of treason and then they also play the victim card. when ever somebody hits back at them and criticize in return, and you saw that to do from donald trump, he expects an apology from abc, and he says things that are ten times more offensive on a daily basis. >> he does not, max, i don't believe he expects an apology. he knows what he's doing. >> he's playing the victim card. >> his numbers have been going up the more he does this -- >> this will help you make your point. pause you say that this roseanne story, this tweet shows both sides of this war that you talk about. they asked some trump supporters
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what they thought about the cancellation of roseanne, watch this. >> i was really disappointed because you had so many people out here speaking their opinions of the president it's okay, so, "the view," cnn say whatever they want and get away with it. but roseanne barr makes a tweet, talking about someone who has trashry, and thought about two beings that had a kid it would look like that person and want to cancel her show. it wasn't right. >> it was not a wise thing to say, but she apologized and i think that many many people have said horrible thing, much worse to our president and vice president, and they haven't lost their television show, they haven't lost their movie. >> first guy, i have no idea what he was talking about, he
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probably doesn't know what he's talking about -- >> honestly he's ignorant of the facts. the second lady i'm sure is a nice lady but she's ig bran of the facts as well. >> the problem is the president of the united states not that women or man. >> have we gotten to that point where we can't agree that something is blatantly racist? >> yes, we're at that point. let me make a statement about the president, particularly, he has trafficked in re schism through his campaign. i'm not going to get in his head, i don't know whether in his heart he's a racist or not. he owned buildings in baltimore where he refuse to rent to african-americans. >> he's a good imitation of one. >> but he traffics racism and makes these racist appeals to his base. that again is where we always end up. now, why is it? because that is his political
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momentum and his ability to stay in office, should the mueller investigation become more and more problematic for him, which it is. >> and what's tragic here, is that conservatives who used to say that the moral tone set by the president really matter. >> that's what you write about in your column. you're talking about moral tone is connected. you said, this should not be such a radical idea, they used to believe that the president's conduct matter because it set a moral tone for the entire nation. now, all of a sudden it does not matter. >> exactly. they talked about how dangerous it was to have bill clinton engage in these sexual dal yass but they have nothing to do when it's bla tan and hatred coming from the off today. >> i said the same thing that he traffics in re schism. look i don't know what's in david duke's heart, but i know
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what he says. i don't know what he's george wallace's heart but i know what he did and his actions. i don't know what's in donald trump's heart but yan what his says and his actions are. >> it's terrible that his supporters will not admit it. >> we'll be right back.
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a bit of breaking news oo tell you about tonight. president barack obama and what he said in the wake of president trump's election victory. carl, this is to you. this is peter baker from "the new york times" has a review and some interesting details. it talks about how president obama reacted in the wake of president trump's election with president obama wondering out laid aides, maybe this is what people want. i've got the economy setup well for him. no facts, no consequences. they can just have a cartoon. he added that we are about to find out just how resilient those institutions are at home and around the world. >> a last point is one that institutions and the rest of the world, we are going to find out how resilient they are because
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donald trump has tested them. again he has tested them through conduct. it's different than any other president including richard nixon. wave never had a president appeal to the lowest common denominator in terms of who we are as a people. who incredibly day after day after day makes no attempt to appeal to our better natures, to our higher selves, to policies and our higher selves. >> and a president who is so unrelenting on his assault on the rule of law and the justice department. this was something richard nixon did in secret and every day we see president trump assaults on the fbi, the special counsel. he's in fact mobilizing his base
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around him. >> that's what the form were president said. maybe this is what the economy wants. no facts, no consequences. >> if the mueller investigation goes on, and what we know the president keeps saying no collusion, no collusion, in fact we have evidence of an openness to collusion by members of his own family. eagerness to -- >> did you feel, carl, during watergate that the truth might never come out? >> yes, i think we both felt that at times. but we know more at this point in this investigation than we did at a similar -- >> okay, i want to play this because i think it's important because the president's supporters they're continually setting up this conspiracy theory, right, there's one really important republican
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who's just not buying it. watch this. >> i'm even more convinced that the fbi did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got, and it has nothing to do with president trump. when the president finds out what happens he's not just going to be glad but glad we have an fbi that took seriously what they heard. i think the fbi if they were at the table this morning that rush a was the target and russia's intei intentions toward our country were the target. the fact that two people who were loosely connected to the trump campaign doesn't diminish the fact russia was the target not the trump campaign. >> of course this is another crazy trump conspiracy theory biting the dust. there's nothing to spygate, which is exactly what we knew or obama wiretapped him or unmasked
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aides or a conspiracy among fbi agents to frame him. it's one after another. even though these theories have no substance to them, nevertheless it's taking a toll with trump supporters when you see a peel like 17% of republicans support the mueller investigation, trump is basically throwing enough doubt out there to cast the investigation into disrepute among his followers. >> he has thus far. but when you start to see people like trey dowdy, the tormenter of hillary clinton in benghazi say what he does, and you hear mitch mcconnell in the past week saying that the special prosecutor's investigation must be protected for the first time, there seems to be some real movement among some influential republicans to put a line down that donald trump can't cross. and that has got donald trump and rudy giuliani in
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particularly who's speaking in tongues these days -- that has the two of them so boxed up that if you talk to people in the white house, they tell you they don't know what to do about this fact, but the line may not hold. >> thank you, gentlemen. you can read max's column. president trump is normalizing racism in the "the washington post." we'll be right back. man: one, two, here we go! ♪ i'm alive, i'm alive, i'm alive ♪ alive! gives you more vitamins and minerals than leading brands. because when you start with more,
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i'm don lemon. live with new developments tonight on the russia investigation. former fbi official andrew mccabe feared that rod rosenstein helped provide president trump with a cover story for it firing of james comey. so he wrote a secret memo about it last spring, a memo that's now in the hands of robert mueller as a "new york times" first reporter. more on what that secret memo said in just a moment. plus new allegations from michael avenatti. he said there were secret recorded conversations and he wants them released to the


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